(CNN) - South Carolina Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer, under fire for drawing a comparison between needy people and "stray animals," said Monday that he regrets his choice of words.
In a phone interview with CNN, Bauer, a Republican candidate for governor, said, "I wish I had used a different metaphor." Bauer told an audience Friday that people receiving government assistance are like "stray animals" because "they breed" and "don't know any better."
"I never intended to tie people to animals," he said, before opting for a kinder animal metaphor: "If you have a cat, if you take it in your house and feed it and love it, what happens when you go out of town?"
Noting that he has raised money for a group that protects animals, Bauer also said he is "not against animals."
But Bauer said he is committed to finding ways to end the "culture of dependency" created by government assistance. He suggested that people on welfare undergo drug testing or be mandated to attend parent-teacher conferences. Efforts at self-improvement, such as job-training or earning a high school equivalency degree, should be rewarded.
Otherwise, he argued, people will just sit at home waiting for a government check. He called that a "systemic problem."
"If some of these people who are currently on welfare were put to work you wouldn't have an immigration problem," he said. "The welfare system is so entrenched that nobody wants to do manual labor jobs."
Asked about criticism from his political opponents, Bauer argued that many voters in South Carolina agree with him. He said he is only telling hard truths that have been swept under the rug for decades and called for a "mature discussion" about welfare in South Carolina. He said he has spoken about the issue for months, and not once has a voter objected.
"That's part of being a leader," he said. "Politicians stand up and give eloquent speeches that make you feel good, but they don't do anything about it." Referencing President Obama, Bauer said: "That's why we have some of the problems we have in this country today."
Bauer has also been rumored to have considered switching races to run for Congress in South Carolina's first congressional district, a seat being vacated by Rep. Henry Brown. "I am not running for Henry Brown's seat," he said.
"I never intended to tie people to animals
Comparing people like you to animals is an insult to animals.
Obama prevented the Republicans from causing a Depression. Let's stop that nonsense, vote "R" and screw America again and again and again
AND THEY SAY DEMOCRATS ARE ARROGANT - WHAT A BUNCH – I HOPE ALL YOU REPUGS GET THEM BACK IN OFFICE BECAUSE IT IS TRULY WHAT YOU ALL DESERVE - THEY ARE ALL LIKE THIS GUY! DISGUSTING!
LOL! Wow. It sounds like Lt. Gov. Bauer is keeping with the highest traditions of South Carolina politicians. What a cesspool.
Please. To this Southern man I would say that "out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaketh." I'm sure these people down in Dixie read their bibles! Deliver us from republicans!!
Another idiot who opens his mouth to speak without thinking, and that's what we want representing us? You'd think, after all the uproar over others "mispeaking" they'd finally learn. I think just like to hear themselves talk-whatever comes out.
Take away food stamps and I will break into your house to feed my kids... Don't worry... I will have a gun too...
wow – racist much?
How out of touch is this guy? He says something, then says that's not what he meant. Then he says that all these people need to not be on welfare, and should go get jobs, when the nations unemployment is at 10%. Is he just really, really drunk?
A) Bauer says he's "not against animals." Does that statement mean he'd have more compassion for animals than people in need?
B) What's up with the creepy picture with Tom Cruise? That's the only picture they could find of Bauer?
This man (?) is truly a moron ... he's not against animals ... he's clarified his previous statement by letting us all know ... it's human beings that he's against! I don't know if he has one ... but he sure is a dick! I'll be all for making people on welfare start earning their own way ... just as soon as elected officials start doing the same ... talk about worthless welfare recipients!!!
Unfortunately – this is the view of many republicans (my late mother included). Everyone should take a long walk in other's shoes before casting judgement. Shameful and sad, really.
So, Bauer is "apologizing" to animal rights supporters because he referred to the poor and welfare recipients as "stray animals"?
At least he has all the republiklan bigotry and racism on full display for all to see and is proud of it.
If only voters will remember what the cons stand for in November.
He may regret SAYING IT – BUT in your heart you BELIEVE IT… Case and POINT!!!
And ALL of the people who blogged earlier and AGREED with him – are also cold-hearted and not THINKING!!
YOU LIE – BAUER ASSpirin because you went on to say "...That's part of being a leader,...Politicians stand up and give eloquent speeches that make you feel good, but they don't do anything about it. That's why we have some of the problems we have in this country today," Referencing President Obama.
PAST presidents gave ELOQUENT speeches – including your so-called HOLIER than THOU Reagan – and you failed to mention him..........YOU ARE A RACIST and cannot clean it up!!!! And if you are a LEADER, WHO are you a LEADER of – the TEA PARTIERS?????
He clearly still misses the point. The uproar isn't because people think he hates animals. It's because his metaphor indicates a shocking disregard for poor people– people who include homeless military veterans, people who have lost everything due to a severe medical condition, and millions of others– as "stray animals" who are too ignorant to stop breeding.
"Asked about criticism from his political opponents, Bauer argued that many voters in South Carolina agree with him."
Well, that makes him a genius in my book.
A member of the GOP whose true racist tendencies comes out and then, tries to retract with a comment stating his "regret". Regret = I'm sorry you heard me say it and not sorry I said it. When will minorities who support the wretched GOP come to realize it is truly a party that cares not about the majority of people but only those who can stuff their coffers with more money?
Oh what a relief that he's not against animals. I was starting to get mad. How dare he compare my cat to a filthy human being on food stamps. The way this Country is going it won't surprise me if the people of SC actually vote for this guy. I hope Tom Cruise comes out against him. Using his picture can't be good for Tom. Not if he want's anyone to watch his movies again.
Why are Republicans so racist? They have NO problem handing $700 Billion in Corporate Well Fare, BUT give a 'poor' man unemployment and now we're dogs?
Bauer did not know any better, in this economy some people do rely on public help, they are not happy about doing it , his statement make these people feel worse
Yet another in a long line of SC bigots.
the point is well made
No need to apologize - your original statement was correct. Thank you for being brave enough to speak the truth!
A poor person voting Republican is just another example of Stockholm Syndrome. They are Sonderkommando in the WWII meaning of the word.